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Family of teen stowaway who died after falling from airliner’s wheel well hires personal injury lawyer

Tisdale (left) and Chestnut

The family of Delvonte Tisdale, the 16-year-old boy who appears to have fallen to his death while stowing away inside the landing gear of a U.S. Airways airliner flying from Charlotte, NC, to Boston, MA, last November, has retained a Florida-based personal injury attorney, Christopher Chestnut, who has suggested that lax airport security contributed to the teenager’s death.

“We intend to seek justice for a child who, although culpable for making irresponsible and immature decisions representative of his age, should never have successfully gained access to that airplane,” said Chestnut, in a Jan. 18 press release announcing that his Gainesville, FL, law firm, The Chestnut Firm, has been retained by Tisdale’s family.

According to Chestnut, the youth went missing on Nov. 14, 2010, and his body was found by the side of a road near Boston, MA, beneath a common flight path into Logan Airport.

“Through a myriad of substantiating and conclusive evidence, it is believed the boy eluded airport safeguards both around the perimeter and on the tarmac, ultimately sneaking into the wheel well of a major U.S. airliner completely unnoticed,” explained Chestnut’s press statement. “He [Tisdale] then tumbled to his untimely death when the landing gear deployed on the jet’s approach to Logan International Airport in Boston.”

Chestnut says the boy’s family “has every intention of pursuing legal action of the highest order.”

The press release suggested that certain details of the stowaway incident and Tisdale’s grisly death were withheld from the public during the recent holiday period.

“While we agreed with authorities’ request to hold on announcing this case until after the busy holiday travel season to avoid inciting public outrage, panic and possible logistical concerns during this critical period for the airline industry,” Chestnut said, “it’s now time for this story to be told and all facets of it explored -- including the considerable ominous implications to our national security at large.”

Chestnut’s press release did not provide any details on the security layers in place at the Charlotte airport that Tisdale appears to have circumvented. For example, the release did not specify whether video surveillance cameras, fencing, vibration sensors, access control locks or security personnel were being used that day, and functioning properly.

Officials at TSA have not yet commented on the Tisdale family’s likely lawsuit.


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